By Chinelo Chikelu, Abuja
South Korea is commemorating its 4oth anniversary of bilateral relations with Nigeria with live orchestra and dance performances this October.
The virtual performance replaces the live stage performances by Korean traditional artists flown into Nigeria annually to perform at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
The performances which kicked off today, October 6, on the Korea Culture Center Nigeria, Abuja YouTube Channel with a ‘live’ 48 minutes act by the Seoul Traditional Orchestra will feature three other performances on the 13th, 20th and 27th of October.
Entitled Hanyang and Seoul, it’s comprised of traditional Korean melodies which paints the image of Hanyang (present day Seoul) during the Joseon Dynasty era. The performance is nostalgic, filling listeners with imagery of heroic and thrilling acts of the past, and a hope for the future, and made for a more enrichening imagination by the use of traditional Korean string and wind instruments such as Gayageum, Geomungo, Daegeum, Saenhwang, Haegeum, Ajaeng, Piri and Taepyeongo.
Made up of largely female instrumentalists, the Seoul Traditional Orchestra, is divvied into sections, and are a mix of traditional and a few modern instruments (drum, flute). Adding to the musical atmosphere and emotion is the projected inky-sand artwork projected onto the screen above the orchestra onstage. Alternating between static images to live drawings by a shadowed hand depicting scenes of old Seoul, and exploits in the province, this forms an exhilarating background for the climatic moment of the performance, a Saenghwang solo performance by a Hanbok outfitted flutist.
Hitting several high notes resulting in a back and forth response between the soloist and the orchestra, with a short spotlight on the Janggu instrument, the 15 minutes performance showed off not only the artist’s dexterity but also the Saenghwang capabilities which despite its powerfully porcupine-like looks emitted soft but firm tunes almost as expressive as a saxophone.
With the performances kicking off on a high note with about 16 local viewers, it will be interesting to discover if the scheduled orchestra acts will slip in the usual one or two popular contemporary or golden Nigerian/foreign songs, that traditional Korean artists performing in Nigeria often do, that never fails to excite the Nigerian audience.
Since the inception of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Korea in 1980, the relations have expanded from economic (oil, technology) to the political and cultural, which has seen many Nigerian officials and artistes engage in capacity building workshops and cultural exchanges in Korea respectively.
The recent cultural exploration is the Ankara Hanbok fashion designs with a locally organized competition for Nigerian designers exhibited online last month, and an international exhibition of Korean designers working on traditional Nigerian Ankara design on hanbok materials coming up in November.